About this Show

Capitol Hill Hearings

News/Business.

NETWORK

DURATION
05:00:01

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 91 (627 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Us 51, Newtown 23, Philadelphia 20, Tucson 14, America 14, United States 13, Connecticut 8, Sandy 8, Pelosi 6, California 6, U.s. 6, Obama 5, Minnesota 5, Janet Robinson 5, Virginia 5, New York 5, Scott Knight 4, Gabe 4, Lastly 4, Aurora 4,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    Capitol Hill Hearings    News/Business.  

    January 17, 2013
    1:00 - 5:59am EST  

1:00am
say a thank-you to the leader for calling this hearing. i am pleased to join rob andrews, co-chair of the steering and policy commission, and my other colleagues here today. i want to say thank-you to the distinguished panel for taking time to join with us. in fact, it is such a distinguished panel -- let me just for a moment personally thank and a knowledge all of you. i have to say, welcome to our visitor from connecticut, superintendent janet robinson of the public-school system. i know janet has been working with families, children, teachers, first responders, and a unbelievable organization of the child center in new haven to help people work through this tragedy with their students. i look forward to hearing more about this. last month at sandy hook, a place where children should be
1:01am
able to learn and grow, the and comprehensible actions six adults and 20 innocent children were murdered in cold blood. we have seep similar acts of terror in aurora and okay land and tucson, all across the country. -- oakland and tucson, all across the country. we see the loss of life every day from gun violence all across this nation. after the unthinkable tragedy in newtown, president obama spoke to the country and he asked us are we doing enough to protect our children? the answer he admitted is no. that must change. that is why we are here today. today's hearing we will hear from people who deal with the effects of gun violence every day. the wide range of experience will facilitate a discussion on common sense and constructive steps we must take to ensure these tragedies will never
1:02am
happen again. i've a letter from the teachers of newtown which i will enter into the record. i will share with you one sentence it reed, in our schools we ensure the schools have the right balance to ensure they are safe. we have to make sure schools do not become fortresses. we have to find and maintain this balance between safety and learning. as we move forward during this difficult time collaboration, communes case and experience of all of members of our community, teachers, law enforcement, and the affected families will work to make our schools safer, stronger, and more united. that's why we're here today to prevent another sandy hook. we all have to work together to end gun violence. i hope we can continue that conversation today and make our children safer. thank you.
1:03am
>> i would like to thank our leader and co-chair for this honor. we come to this room today from different places and many different backgrounds. the last few months we have seen too many of our fellow countrymen gunned down in the streets. i represent camden, new jersey. a city of 80,000 have had 70 homicides this year. we see our neighbors die in shopping malls, movie theaters, college campuses and horrifically 31 days ago an elementary school. we are bonded together by one common conviction and that is our belief that is not inevitable. we can make choices to stop this from happening again. we believe that consistent with good medical practice, we can improve our mental health system so those who are tortured can get help.
1:04am
we believe that consist went good law enforcement practices we can make our campuses and schools safe in a responsible way. and yes, we believe consist wept the second amendment to the constitution of the united states and consistent with the common sense of the american people, we can pass a law that makes it so that no one can own a gun that can fire 30 bullets in 30 seconds. no one who is already proven they are a risk to society will have the opportunity to buy any gun at all. we look forward to the perspective of the witnesses on these pressing questions. i thank our colleagues and now we're going to hear from the ranking member mr. conyers. >> thank you so much. it's important that we recognize that the president of the united
1:05am
states, the vice president of the united states, our leader nancy pelosi here in the congress, and all of the members here are committed to deal for the very first time this horrible gun violence that is going on. and be able to deal with in a meaningful way. i thank all of the witnesses for being here. i join with all my colleagues in the very importance of this matter. we have at least five members of the house judiciary committee here. i want to close with this one point that has now become important. that is addressing the mental
1:06am
health crisis in our country. in which so many people suffer from some form of a mental problem. so i applaud you for being here and i look forward to this very important call to action. >> thank you. i would like to introduce the chair of the task force in the house of representatives of representatives, mike thompson of california. >> thank you very much. leader pelosi thank you for organizing this hearing and thank you for all the witnesses who came to share your expertise and experiences with us. as a gun owner, i think we should protect the second amendment rights. as a dad and grandfather i believe we have an important responsible to make sure our schools, community, and streets are safe.
1:07am
i know we can do both. one thing is real clear, now is the time for action. there is too much gun violence. there's no set of laws that will end the shootings and senseless acts of violence but that is no excuse for sitting around and doing nothing. the time is now. as the chair of the gun violence prevention task force i'm working on a comprehensive approach to reduce gun violence. i've met with everybody, republicans, democrats, gun rights groups, gun safety group, people from the video game and movie industry, hunting groups, law enforcement leaders, and the vice president of the united states of america and with my constituents. we know this is a complex issue. in other words to make my meaningful progress it's going
1:08am
to take a complex solution. but every idea needs to be on the table and everyone needs to be at that table in other words for us to be successful. thank you all for coming today. i thank my colleagues for coming with their ideas, there are great ideas out there. i know working together we can put public policy in place that will make our communities safer and at the same time, protect law-abiding americans rights to own a firearm. thank you. >> the evidence of this problem that many people in this room have felt in their own lives the heavy burden of this pain on this issue. we're going to hear from caroline mccarthy from new york. >> thank you. i thank everybody for being here. each time there's a shooting, especially over the last -- i've
1:09am
been working on this issue for 18 years now. everybody thinks that this closure for victims, there is never closure for victims. it never goes away. every time there is a shooting each and every one of us go through the moment when the tragedy happened to our family. my husband died and my son was left paralyzed. it was during the time that he was learning to speak again. he asked me why and i did not have the answer. i am saying this because it is people like us that went through this tragedy. we're the ones that wanted to do the best we can to make sure no other family goes through what we've already gone through. many here have already experienced that. i will say that this is the first time in a long, long time since president clinton that i actually have real hope that we
1:10am
can get something done to save lives. it's been a tough battle. i would say to so many of the victims out there, there are times when we lose faith, there are times when we want to give up. all i can say is we can't give up. the shootings have only gotten worse. there are things we can could have done so many years ago that could have prevented so many of these killings. not only the mass killings, it is also the shootings that happen every single day. since what happened in connecticut, with those children and the teachers, 900 people have died from gun violence. i keep count. i keep count.
1:11am
because it is going to be up to all of us to try to talk to some of our members on both sides of the aisle that we as americans it is those that we have to call upon to reach out to those members of congress throughout the country, because we are here to do the right. the president and the vice president are here to do the right thing and they are going to use their office. but if we as americans don't also raise our voice this will begin another logs battle. we can't afford to lose another battle. we have common sense issues to stop gun violence holistically but when it comes down to it, assault weapons, weapons that are made for the military have no right to be on the street. they do not. i will say to you as our leader has said, we all take the oath of the constitution of the
1:12am
united states. we have never tried to infringe on that to legal gun owners. the package that our coalition which agrees with the president and the vice president can make a difference. we know we can't save every single life. i was a nurse for many years before i came here. the best of the best couldn't save every single life. but that doesn't mean we couldn't try to make sure we did as much as we could to save those lives. that is what we're fighting for. it's heartening to see everybody here. it was heartening to see people at the white house who really care about this issue and have been fighting this issue longer than me. victims i've seen for 10 or 15 years still out there fighting. we can make a difference.
1:13am
this time it is different. it is different because those children, those children are an example of what happens daily in this country. it has to stop. we're americans. we're better than that. we are better than that. we cannot allow a group, a small minority of this country to stop us from doing the right thing. thank you. [applause] >> it gives me great pleasure to introduce a newly-elected colleague from connecticut who will introduce our first witness and that is congresswoman and
1:14am
whose district that sandy hook elementary school resides. we will have all the various members introduce our witnesses then we will proceed with the testimony. >> thank you so much. thanks to all of you for being with us today. as witnesses to what happened in our community of newtown, connecticut and as to a call for action as to what we must do as a country. i'm honored today to introduce janet robinson who has become a good friend, who is a true american hero. for five years she has served as the superintendent of schools in newtown, connecticut.
1:15am
throughout her career she has shown a constant and loving commitment to education and improving the lives of children. in addition to having served as superintendent of schools in three different connecticut communities, janet has served as a teacher, a school counselor, and a school psychologist. i met janet in the fire house which was the emergency center of newtown, connecticut on the afternoon of the shooting. janet was grieving. she was there with parents of children who didn't know if their children were going to come home. as we know, 20 of them did not. the next morning this brave woman sat around a conference table with members of her community and began plan on how to protect those children and their family. how to reopen the school and get
1:16am
children back to learning. she was putting sandy hook community first, the teachers, the children, and those families. she did it all the time with her heartbroken for her friend who is were cut down on that terrible day. janet, i know you will provide invaluable expertise to us. you are an expert on children, on teaching, but most importantly, and for our purposes today, you're an expert on the price of inaction. you are an expert because newtown has paid this price. you're children paid this price. your teachers paid this price. your administrators paid the price. the community paid the price. you speak with unquestionable authority on that subject. you've lived what has happened when we as political leaders don't act. you can speak to us today on who these people were, tell us about the extraordinary principal and leader of that school.
1:17am
the incredible children, several of those parents who is came today at the president's announcement. who these families are and the extraordinary community that you are a member of. what we need to do here today and with your help and guidance, you need to help us on how to prevent tragedy, about how to save lives, how to ensure that no other community endure what is newtown, connecticut has gone through. what happens now we could not prevent what happened then, we can go forward. this is about what happens now. i want to thank you for your extraordinary leadership and courage in your community coming here today. thank you very much. >> our next introducer is someone who bears both the physical and emotional scars of
1:18am
this issue. he stood by the side of our colleague gabby giffords on the day of that event in arizona. he stood by her ever since and he now has her seat ron barber. >> thank you. thanks for bringing us together and to reflect on what we as a nation can do to prevent any kind of reoccurrence. it is my honor to introduce emily nottingham. she's from tucson. emily and i have known each other for a long time even before i knew her son. she worked for 30 years in the city of tucson as an administrator for affordable housing and social services held that position until her retirement not too long ago. beyond that she has acted in many community organizations. i'm proud to say she was one of the first teem to join the advisory board an organization that my family and i established
1:19am
shortly after the shooting in tucson. she's also an outdoors person as was her son and is on the board of many nonprofits. she's the proud mother of two young men. when i was district director for congresswoman gabby giffords, gabe was my aid. it was a place where we put together the management of congresswoman giffords stay early on. he was my go-to guy. a young man with compassion and caring that it is beyond failed to think that he is no longer with us. he learned about service from his mother. she served, as i said, many nears with people who are
1:20am
disadvantaged in our community. it was gabe who set up that event on january 8, he was killed at that event. he died right beside me. i will never ever forget the image of gabe dying by my side. i know for certain that his last action was to come and try to help us. help me, help congresswoman giffords and for doing that he was shot. some of us here and in congress meet regularly in a room that is named in his honor, the gabe zimmerman room. every time guy there i remember this young man. his mother has been very active
1:21am
since -- she's always been active in our community but particularly active since the tragedy in tucson. she is willing and able to speak at any number of events and has done so to lend her personal understanding of what it means to lose a son in a tragedy like this. we were shot with a glock, with a clip or a magazine i should say. i know she wants to do something about it and it is a great honor to hear her testimony today. >> will hear from our colleague for an introduction. >> thank you madame leader. on behalf of my colleague betty and i'm privileged to introduce scott knight who is the chief of
1:22am
police of minnesota. i would be amiss if i did not mention a mayor is here with us. thank you all for being here. chief scott knight started his career with the police department in 1976 and has been a police chief since 2000. chief knight was appointed to the international chief of police executive committee and has served as chair of the iacp firearms committee. he has been a leader in the fight against gun violence. law enforcement is a key constituent if we're going to bring this state of gun violence
1:23am
under control. chief knight has not only been a leader to fight against gun violence but also violence against officers and illegal gun trade. in 2010, the incp joined nine other law enforcement organizations to form the national law enforcement partnership to prevent gun violence. chief knight was chairman of the partnership during its first year. in 2008, chief knight received the minnesota chief of police association award on his work in gun violence. he has testified before congress before and is an expert in this area and we're very pleased to greet you here today, chief. thank you. >> our final introducer is congressman chaka fattah.
1:24am
>> thank you. we're about to celebrate the life and legacy of dr. king and we're reminded on that balcony in memory sis he was -- memphis he was shot down. president kennedy was shot. we are reminded in washington all the time of the dangers of guns. that's why you went through the security protection to come into this building. the supreme court ruled that everyone has a right to bear arms and it makes clear you can't bring them into the supreme court. so -- that is because we know guns are dangerous. so as much as people may proclaim one thing you have to look at their actions. on the floor of the house, we saw a member shot down once that's why we have bulletproof things and other kinds of protections.
1:25am
mayor nutter is someone growing up in west philadelphia, the best place in the world to grow up is a forecast councilman and is a mayor of our city, in so many respects he is the nation's mayor. we working on gun buybacks but he has had to counsel families of police officers who have been killed. there are literally dozens of children over 50 a day shot every day in our country and mayor, it is good to see you. there is so much more that could be said but it is more important that we hear from the witnesses. i want to welcome my friend and the leader of the united states conference of mayors here today and we await his testimony.
1:26am
thank you. >> thank you. we're honored by each of your presence and went would like to begin with janet robinson. >> thank you very much. i'm here to give a face to the children, the staff, the families of sandy hook in newtown, connecticut. our on a beautiful winter morning in december buses dropped off their precious cargo. nearly 500 elementary children with their expectations like all little children that good things will happen today. maybe, what is for lunch today? will i have a chance to play with my friends at recess? in the first three classrooms the little first graders coats were hung up and the morning routine began with circle time.
1:27am
they spoke about the activities of the day. this was a typical routine of sandy hook elementary school. a place that exudes carrying, happiness, nurturing, from the moment you walk through the door. if you pass a child or adult in the hall you will get a smile or a cheerful greeting. sandy hook elementary school seemed like the safest place in on this earth, the quiet community. this school has been known for the saw bush education the students receive over 50 years and has been acknowledged as a vanguard school. its tradition of caring about the whole child is well-known and part of that tradition. this school is an important piece of the fabric of this community. that morning was like every other morning. after all routines are comforting for kids. until about
1:28am
9:30 when a troubled young man carrying two guns. one of them an assault rifle shot out the glass window to bypass the buzz-in system and to change the lives of so many people in the next few minutes. he went through the front door where normally three secretaries would be working, she flew under the desk. then he went back into the hall where he was confronted by the principal, the lead teacher, and the school's psychologist who emerged from a meeting in a conference room. i can picture dawn to believe that someone would come into her school.
1:29am
she would not think of her safety but making him stop. i can visualize of her trying to take charge. she would do anything to protect her charge. that's where they found the bodies of dawn and mary rushing towards the attacker. natalie, fortunately, survived. the shooter bypassed the first grade classroom and started shooting in the second grade classroom killing the teacher and all but one child who was clever enough to play dead. by this time, a teacher in the third room crammed as many children in the bathroom when the teacher took aim on her and her chutes. -- her students.
1:30am
vicki who was so excited to reach her dream as a teacher through herself in front of her students. anne marie was an assistant for a boy with special needs and she died trying to shield him. as was a behavior specialist. none of these brave women were trained in combat. they were elementary school educators dedicated to educating their young children. their first response when com fronting by this terror was to protect their children. thank goodness for our first responders, they arrived in three minutes which is incredible in a town of 60 square miles, mainly country roads. they arrived as the shooter carried enough ammunition to take out the entire school. this loving elementary school was helpless.
1:31am
20 beautiful first graders were lost that day in a senseless act. there were no match for a troubled person with an ar-15. at the fire house where we gathered to try to sort through the events of the day. the true horror of the assault became apparent as parents came running to the station looking if you are that children. as we released children we began to realize we did not have enough children. there were parents without children. it was then i began to realize the magnitude of this horror. six dedicated educators were lost including the phenomenal principal who took over the leadership of sandy hook two and half years ago. shed a vast knowledge of good instruction and coached already affective teachers to stretch
1:32am
for excellence. she joined in all the fun with gusto. she was all in. she might show up at a meeting in pajamas or dress like a fairy princess. the students knew she liked to have fun at part of the learning yes, she was sure about making sure the students had a solid education. now, we as a community are struggle to pick up the pieces and determine what this new normal looks and feels like. our sense of security has been shattered. innocent children and the people who teach them were gunned down. we're all forever changed. some families have a huge hole left by a 6-year-old.
1:33am
family who is have their children are still suffering from the nightmares and fears of sounds and strangers. children who are even fearful in their own classrooms. who knows what the long-term impact will be for those children who had the innocence of childhood shattered. what do i say when the parents when they put their children on the school bus they are sure they will come home? how do i let children enjoy being children? i've heard a measure of society is how they treat their children. so help me give these children their futures. i would like to share with you as one final thought a fourth grade student sent you a letter and her name is ava.
1:34am
she says i'm a fourth grade student. after the shooting in my town i started an online petition asking for help to change the gun laws. it is got a lot of support from all over america but i had to take it down because police were worried about my safety. what everyone in newtown wants you to ban large-capacity magazines and for everyone to keep people safe. semi automatic weapons end lives and put lives at risk. this ban will help individuals, family, and communities from suffering the way we are in newtown. in newtown's center there is hundreds of cards and pictures from children and adults from all over america. it is so sad. people who are against changing gun laws they should walk through the hallway and read one card to realize how many people want this change.
1:35am
we would appreciate anything you can do to help. this is some of the thousands and thousands of cards and letters that are in the hall. it shows the support and the feeling among the people in this country. thank you for doing what you're doing here. [applause] >> dr. robinson that deeply wounded community is so fortunate to have a person of your strength and character to guide. we're so thankful that you're here today and moved by what you said. >> thank you. >> the mayor of philadelphia, the president of the conference, is there any other mayors with you that you would like to acknowledge we will understand. mayor welcome.
1:36am
[applause] if there's others mayor feel free. welcome, mayor nutter. >> leader pelosi and chairman andrews and all the members of the house democrats and the policy committee. let me first say you make me very proud. very proud of the opportunity to be with you and more importantly, that you have taken the time to try to address these issues. i'm michael a. nutter mayor of the city of philadelphia, president of the u.s. conference of mayors. we're joined by a number of --
1:37am
>> the chief's microphone? maybe that will work. >> we are joined today by a number of mayors. a number of us are members of the organization mayors against illegal guns. it has provided tremendous leadership by mayor bloomberg. to all the mayors who are here thank you for your leadership as well. i'm here before you on behalf of the u.s. conference of mayors to discuss with you the views of the nation's mayors on what we must do to reduce gun violence in this nation and to make our cities and towns, our streets, our schools, our theaters, our places of worship safer places for all of our people. again, and again and again
1:38am
americans have been stunned by senseless violence and acts of violence involving guns. december 14, 2012 tragedy targeting young children in newtown remains incomprehensible. too many times in the last year mayors have expressed shock at the mass shooting. even more frequently many of us must cope with gun violence that occurs on the streets of our cities every day. the u.s. conference of mayors have been calling for sensible gun laws to protect the public for more than 40 years. mayors and police chiefs have worked together in this effort for decades. we have done this because of the
1:39am
tremendous toll which gun violence takes on the american public day in and day out. let me share with you some numbers. every day in american more than 100,000 people are shot. 37,375 die. every year, 18,000 children and teenagers are shot. 2,829 of them die including, 1,888 who are murdered. every day in america, 282 people are shot and 86 die including 32 who are murdered. every day 50 children and teens are shot and eight of them die, including five who are murdered.
1:40am
if this was disease killing that many people, if this were accidents killing that many people, if this were bags of tainted spinach killing that many people this country would take immediate and swift action to stop that kind of death toll. somehow, some seemingly paralyzed when it comes to guns and violence but i would repeat what congresswoman mccarthy said this time is different and it must be. gun violence disproportionately affects metropolitan areas. 39% of gun related murders and 23% of total homicides. philadelphia, like many major
1:41am
cities have you struggled to control gun violence for years. however, despite our recent successes deaths due to gun violence have not dramatically fallen. philadelphia, like many major cities have you struggled to control gun violence for years. however, despite our recent successes deaths due to gun violence have not dramatically fallen. here's one set of statistics to illustrate this point. last year, the number of shooting victims in philadelphia was 1,282. this is down considerably from the year before. it was the lowest number since we began tracking shooting victims in 2000. however, the number of homicides was actually slightly up last year, 331, seven more than the
1:42am
previous year. how are these two statistics possible? the answer is the homicide victims have more bullets killing them. put it another way, there are more rounds being fired and more intentional head shots. so despite better policing and someone in philadelphia is shot, unfortunately, they may be more likely to die even though there are fewer shooting victims. we had an 11% increase last year in philadelphia in head shots. we had a 30% increase in the number of bullets found at scenes measuring more than 20 rounds at a location. let me note that pennsylvania does not have stringent gun restrictions.
1:43am
when the city of philadelphia adopted stricter gun laws the state supreme court struck some of those laws down. that is why we need federal legislation, comprehensive, common sense federal legislation for all of us to be safe. [applause] cities alone cannot reduce gun violence by themselves. we are doing everything we can but still losing the battle thanks to the proliferation to guns in our nation. our story is not unique. mayors everywhere are dealing with this problem. they use resources which we should be using to educate our children, create jobs and
1:44am
revitalize our cities. in an open letter to the president and the congress sent three days after the newtown massacre we urged immediate action and over 200 mayors signed on to that letter. we called on the president to exercise his powers through executive orders and the congress to introduce and pass legislation to make reasonable changes in our gun laws and regulations. specifically, we called on congress to one, enact legislation to ban assault weapons and other high-capacity magazines that is now being prepared by the senator. two, strengthen the national background check system and eliminate loopholes. three, strengthen the penalties for illegal purchases of guns. today, president obama and vice president biden released the administration's plan to reduce gun violence through new legislation and executive action. i was honored to be at the white
1:45am
house earlier today for that release and i can tell you that the administration clearly listened closely to the recommendation which the mayors have offered. the nation's mayors urge congress to give that report full consideration and to move swiftly forward on the legislative action it requires. we know preventing gun violence whether it is a mass shooting on a school or murder on a street corner will take more than just strengthening our gun laws. we need to reverse a culture of violence in our nation so violent acts are not the first response of settling a difference or compensating for a wrong. we need to fund our mental health system so we can identify troubled individuals earlier and get them the help they need. lastly, in addition i personally support the creation of a national commission of domestic terrorism, violence, and crime in america.
1:46am
it will examine issues and put promises on what government can do on a local, state, and national level to reduce terrorism and prevent attacks such as those we witnesses in newtown, aurora, tucson, and at virginia tech. yesterday, as mayor of philadelphia, i announced and put forward something i refer to as the sandy hook principles. these are called to action to heed the basic core values of american citizens and promoting the health, safety, and well being of our communities. the objective is to influence the behavior of gun and am you nation manufacturers, distributors and retailers by establishing a baseline standard for a responsible conduct of their business. i will share these principles with many other mayors and we expect these we will review and
1:47am
discuss them in the days ahead. let me be clear, strengthening our gun laws should not have to wait for these other actions to occur. the time for action is now. the nation's mayor's pledge to work with you to build a safer america for our children and for all of our citizens. lastly, let me say this as a father. i find it reprehensible and disgusting that the n.r.a. would place an ad on television attacking president obama's daughters. [applause] even in this, at times outrageous business of politics which we're all engaged, we must have the sense to not attack the
1:48am
families and children of those of us engaged in public service. the nra has struck an incredibly new low in public discourse and that ad should be removed immediately. it has -- [applause] that ad has no place in the legitimate dialogue that must take place in order to make this country safer for all of us, especially our children. thank you madame leader. >> thank you mayor for your powerful testimony. miss nottingham your son, personified what so many people choose to do, we're happy that you are here to share your thoughts with us. welcome.
1:49am
>> thank you for having me. it's fitting that we're holding this meeting near the gabe zimmerman room. gabe was my son and he worked with your colleague, congresswoman gabby giffords. a man armed with high-capacity magazines and a semi automatic weapon shot the congresswoman then turned on the people who ran to see her. he murdered six, including my son and injured 13 people, including congressman ron barber with 31 bullets before retried to reload his magazine. only then did citizen heroes have the opportunity to tackle him to the ground and disarm him. on that will sunny day those people, including a 9-year-old girl not much older than the children killed in newtown were exercising their rights.
1:50am
their right to free of assembly, the right to freedom of speech. they were trying to be good citizens, participating in the democratic process. i'm sad beyond words at the death and injuries in tucson, aurora, newtown, and too many other places. i'm also angry that we, you and i, have made it so easy for these things to happen. we've allowed ourselves to overemphasize gun rights to the detriment of other rights, including the most important, the right to be alive. we've allowed our families to lose the feeling of safety at school, at the movies and gabe, who had a passion for social justice would be furious. please, do not be swayed by the line that the only way to combat a bad guy with a gun is a good
1:51am
guy with a gun. there was a good guy with a gun at the tucson shooting but he almost shot the citizen hero that tackled the shooter. i'm here to encourage you to tackle this serious public health issue with resolve, with facts, and with a complexity with the approach that it requires. i fully understand that we can't stop every shooting. but if we can take action and save some of our loved ones shouldn't we do everything we can? we've known some of the solutions for decades but have failed to act. we need better access to and funding of our men the health systems. we need universal background checks and to take high-capacity magazines off the streets. we need the c.d.c. to fully research gun violence.
1:52am
i'm also here because i think it helps to bolster your resolve when you think of the victims as real people not just statistics. gabe was like many of your staffers. he worked long hours on horrible takeout food. he had plans that morning. picking a wedding location, helping his mom, that's me, hook up her tv, figuring out a birthday present for his fiance. instead, he was shot in the head as he ran to help his boss by a man wielding weapons designed to kill many people quickly. have you ever had that nightmare where you knew you were supposed to be but couldn't get there? that was my january 8. as i searched hospitals to find my son who did not answer his cell phone and i thought was wounded. it took hours to find out that
1:53am
he died before he hit the ground and his body was still on the sidewalk where he fell. when you're dishearten by the number of steps that have to be taken by the fears of others, by the politics please dig deep and find new heart. think for a moment about your young staffers, your children or grandchildren. now imagine that cell phone in your pocket is vibrating and the message says they have been murdered a stranger with an assault weapon. imagine that. keep working to protect your staffers, our children, our nation. we need you to not give up. thank you.
1:54am
[applause] >> thank you miss nottingham. we aspire to equal your commitment. thank you so much for that moving testimony and courage we thank you for that moving testimony. this problem is prevalent in our cities but not only in our cities. our next witness knows that the sad national effect of gun violence, chief knight. >> good afternoon. thank you leader pelosi for the
1:55am
opportunity to speak before the committee. i've been involved in firearms policy and legislation for a long time. i've been a police officer for 36 years and chief for 12. i'm a forecast chair of the firearms committee and the forecast chair of the partnership to prevent gun violence. for many years we have worked to try to stop the madness and advert the tragedies we're seeing. these tragedies occur every day with real people, police officers included losing their lives or suffering injury due to inadequacy of our gun laws. law enforcement is on the front lines of the gun violence epidemic. in 2011, for first time -- first time in 14 years more law
1:56am
enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty by guns than any other means. about 2,000 children under the age of 18 are killed every year by guns. how sad that it has taken such horrific mass murderers, including those of the 20 small children in connecticut to get our attention. this debate about gun violence are inadequately depicted as pro gun or antigun. it had stiffled a debate -- discussion on gun violence. we're not anti-guns, we carry gun, many of us are hunters. we know guns in dangerous hands are terrible consequences.
1:57am
we have seen the devastation caused by weapons with excessive fire power. federal law deems certain categories of people too dangerous to possess firearms. among them, felonies, fugitives, minors, and those committed to a mental institution. the brady law enacted in 1994, established a national background check system. but those checks, as you know, are only required when someone is making a purchase from a federally licensed firearms dealer. a way around those checks is for a person to purchase at a gun show, an ad, or through a private party. we know, we've heard an estimated 40% of firearms are
1:58am
acquired through private transactions, meaning a prohibited person can and does obtain a weapon without a background check. after the tragedy in newtown, the gun lobby funded in part by the gun makers, proclaimed the solution to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. but the real solution is to prevent the bad guy from getting a gun in the first place is to do a background check. that's something a good guy does. from 1994 when the brady law took effect to 2009, by the way that is the last public data we could get, nearly two million prohibited purchases were blocked. can you imagine? can you imagine what the current data might be?
1:59am
that's a lot of bad guys prevented from getting guns. that is good guys stopping bad guys. it is time to stop dangerous people from getting guns from any source. congress must pass legislation requiring background checks for all purposes. we must also approve a background check system. but too many records are not in because states are behind in their reporting. too many states have not submitted records for those who have disqualifying health issues. this must be fixed. assault weapons are not legitimate sporting guns, nor were they designed for citizens to use in defending their homes. they were created to spray bullets in rapid fire on a
2:00am
battlefield, not on our streets. this kind of firepower in our communities is simply irresponsible and facilitates mass murder. banning high capacity magazines will reduce -- perpetrators have been taken down while they are changing out magazines trying to reload. semi-automatic assault weapons already exist. they should be treated the same way we treat machine guns. they should be registered and those persons should go through a background check in order to possess them. the proposal to arm teachers and volunteers in our schools is a distraction, and it is a very dangerous one. it opens a host of security issues. it is very difficult for a highly trained police officer to engage an active shooter. it takes a great deal of training, something that our
2:01am
teachers, principals, and superintendents to not have the time and are probably not inclined to do. police in schools help make schools safer by building relationships and trust. it is those relationships and trust that stop the bad guy before the event happens. we have relationships to develop information so we know when someone is in trouble, so we know when someone is struggling, and we know they are threatening to do something because we have the evidence of it and it is typically the school resource officer who
2:02am
develops that relationship and gets that information and stops that event. it happens every day. because nothing happened, it does not make the news. i want to stress the atf needs a director in place as soon as possible. [applause] that post has not been vacant. you know and i know a serious light needs to be shined on the amendments and they need to be
2:03am
repealed and removed. [applause] all across the country, law enforcement and the public are calling upon congress to strengthen our nation's laws. i ask you he our call and enact these sensible measures that will prevent further bloodshed. thank you. [applause] >> thank you all very much for what has been a most extraordinary, a powerful testimony. and prescriptions for us to take back and thank you for giving us the strength and the resolve to help make these changes. we cannot do it without you.
2:04am
i think you know we hope you know we are with you in trying to make these changes. we are now going to move to questions. i will introduce my colleague, mike thompson. a member of one of his vice chairs on the violence committee. we will have a one minute question and that will be when we get to dealing with our members. >> thank you. it gives me great pleasure to introduce one of the vice chairs on the task force to prevent violence. an expert in juvenile justice. our colleague from california in juvenile justice, and our and gentleman from virginia.
2:05am
>> i want to point out we have already had recommendations from the president and the vice president. we will have additional recommendations. we know we will have a serious response to the tragedy in newtown.
2:06am
we also have to make recommendations to address violence generally. that must be done with a comprehensive approach. a doctor who is a forensics colleges frequently reminds us that if you're prevention plan begins when the shooter is that the door, it is too late. the youth promise act seeks to replace the cradle to prison pipeline. the attorney general, blue- ribbon commission report on how to reduce problems associated with children exposed to silence was published a few months ago. it focuses on prevention and early intervention and uses the phrase, evidence-based on virtually every page. it urges us to follow evidence and research and avoid slogans and feel good approaches that
2:07am
are not effective. we can have confidence that our recommendations can make a difference and our children across the nation will be protected. >> i would like to recognize, standup, those associated with the virginia tech tragedy. [applause] >> thank you. what we will do now is, first of all, this has been an outpouring of member support for this effort. we have had over 60 members of the house of representatives here. we are not in session. there are no votes. members stay because of their view of the importance of this issue. this is how we handle the questions because there are so many. we continue to recognize members in the order they come in. we are going to ask members in batches of five. ask one questions each. you have one minute to ask your question, then we will have the panel handle those. what we would like to do is do this in a 10 minute block of time so we can get around to as many questions as we can. the first grouping of questions -- i want to join you in saluting the panel today. a call to action. i know the mayor has to get
2:08am
back to work in philadelphia. if you have to slip out, we understand. [applause] >> i will ask the following five members to kick it off. the representative from new jersey, the representative from florida, the representative from new york, and the representative from oregon. >> thank you very much. my question is probably a broad one and widespread. and probably directed to the mayor and the chief of police. with all of the budgetary restraints we suffer throughout this country, certainly here, do you think you can have an effective program without federal funding? >> no. >> we will take all five questions at one time. [laughter] >> thank you for this. they make one cry and they
2:09am
should make one angry and outraged and determined and committed. why is america so different candy statistics you gave us? it is not that we have so much more mental illness or less health care than other countries or fewer armed police or more defenseless students. it is not only american youth who play violent video games. it is not that we have so little information about bad guys. and yet, we have so many more gun deaths. what are the major distractions in these arguments that we have to guard ourselves against? over the decades, we have been distracted from actually confronting the problem. >> thank you. thank you panelists for your moving testimony.
2:10am
my home state of oregon is one of the few states that requires universal background checks for all firearms sales. the recent shooting at the town center shopping mall, the shooter killed two before turning the gun on himself. he stole his assault rifle. the newtown shooter used weapons owned by his mother. what other steps can we take? >> thank you. we had an entire police force at virginia tech. what i would like to principally focus on, being from virginia, invariably the nra says philadelphia and d.c. and other major cities have the tougher gun laws but look at all the gun crime. virginia is one of the major problems. what happens, even though the governor passed a law limiting handgun to one gun a month, they then reversed it. now, people will go in, and whether it is a gun show or
2:11am
whatever, they will buy cases of guns, transport them up 95, and find a convenient urban street quarter, open up the truck, and sell the guns. i would like the mayor to address that phenomenon and why it's a man's federal legislation. thank you. >> one minute, then i will ask the mayor to answer the question first because he will have to leave. >> thank you. thank you for your presence here and your testimony. i represent flint michigan. over the last few years, one in every 540 residents have been slain.
2:12am
an amazing statistic. i talked to our prosecutor today. his concern is that the guns he sees in the streets are held by teenagers, and not a single one of them acquired legally. i suppose i would ask the chief specifically to comment on what federal support, local police chief, particularly places that have precious few local resources available, what federal support would be most helpful in dealing with this problem? >> i will try to be quick. thank you for your accommodations with regard to my schedule and the opportunity. congresswoman johnson, you asked a question with regard to,
2:13am
can we really -- we do what we do with what we have. as part of my testimony, i talked about dealing with these issues at the federal level. in the aftermath of 9/11, the united states said we will do whatever it takes to make sure we are safe. what i want is someone to say we will do whatever it takes walking. i want to be safe in my neighborhood. i want my children to go to school. i want the same response to international terrorism to domestic terrorism icy on a regular basis. funding, personnel, equipment,
2:14am
support, technology. a focus on regular basis that domestic terrorism is as important as international terrorism. you almost have to take all of your clothes off to get in an airplane. one guy had a bomb in his shoe, and yet all of us take off our shoes to get on the airplane. that is fine. i want to be safe. we cannot do what we need to do without serious focused federal support. that is what the idea is out. a 9/11 commission told us what we need to be doing to be safe in the air. we need that same kind of
2:15am
response on the ground. that is one answered. congressman, to your question, i think one of the reasons, i do not think americans are not that much more prone to violence. but when you have almost as many guns as you have people in this country, invariably, they end up in the hands of folks who should not have them. . tried to pass them in philadelphia and we did get this one by. the simple idea that you had to report your weapon, lost or stolen, if you want to make a claim about your car to the insurance company, you have to report it stolen. back in 2008, one of the proudest moments of my entire political career. [laughter] [applause] it is a distraction. we have to be prepared to fight back, in many of the similar ways. they have done their best to gut and under fund, through congress, not confirmed a director, taken away the ability to accumulate information for law-enforcement purposes. if you will solve a problem, you need to know what problem and data information. they have taken every possible step to block that agency or anyone else. we can put a person on the moon but i cannot assure that you will be safe walking around the corner. we need data and information. gunlocks.
2:16am
in connecticut, the person took his mother's weapons. one of the proposals out of what i released yesterday, the sandy hook principles. when you walk into a video store or an electronics store, you buy a dvd player, they immediately offer you the two- year warranty. when you walk into a gun store, after the background check, which everyone should go to, they should also offer you a gun law. or ask if you have a gun locker in your house or business where this will be stored?
2:17am
that should be a part of the sale. that is the only person who should be able to get access to that weapon. we know the technology exists. you can make guns in such a way that only the legitimate owner and operator can operate at a weapon. that would cut down tremendously on the fact that, in my city and many others, you can rent guns across the city. you walk in and they sell you an array of weapons. you put your weapon. you put your money down. you do whatever it is you do and you bring it back. they know who you are.
2:18am
guns circulate. they are already there. we in pennsylvania have of the weaker laws. in place that you have tougher laws, they may be crazy, but they are not totally stupid. they go across the county lines and bring them back and engage
2:19am
in activities. that is why we need federal legislation covering the entire united states. that is what we need. the people involved in that particular business and the many instances, it could be a spouse, a girlfriend, or fund, whatever the case may be. the person knows they cannot buy weapons themselves. that person is engaged in criminal activity and they should have the hammer come down on them as well. you need sentences for people who walk around with unlicensed weapons. if you look to new york and commend the governor for what he did yesterday, new york city, a few years ago, walking around with his own weapon, unlicensed, shot himself in the leg. no one seems to care whether or not they have them or not. those are illegal guns and they should not be on our streets and we should step up law
2:20am
enforcement activity and snatch those illegal guns off the streets of america. somehow the government is going to do something that causes everyone to be armed, that we are marching down the street, coming after guns, is a whole lot of nonsense. the people who are not dealing in the reality of what i and achieve and what many other states on a daily basis. we have real jobs, with real responsibilities, trying to make folks say. we need to have a serious conversation about these issues. thank you. >> thank you very much, mayor. >> thank you very much. [applause] our next group, we asked people try to hear, the first is ms. barbara lee from california. when you are responding to this
2:21am
group, if you would like to comment on the earlier questions, please feel free. >> thank you. my heartfelt condolences go to the families of your loved ones and to the entire newtown community. i am from oakland california. our thoughts and prayers are to you. 15 of my constituents were shot last week. could you please give us an idea of what cities and police officers and mares confront in terms of daily gun violence? >> i want to add my appreciation for the incredibly touching and courageous remarks today. i can tell you i have renewed resolve because of your courage and dedication and compassion and i recognize this is the day to commit, from this day forward, that we need
2:22am
comprehensive federal reform so we are doing something meaningful about the gun violence in this country. i come from the district in new mexico where we have significant gun violence and tragedy. many of the questions i would have asked have been asked. a new question. in the aftermath of this incredible tragedy in newtown, and i want to make sure i recognize, what can we do in congress today to help the healing of newtown? >> thank you. >> thank you, my condolences. also to the representatives from the virginia shooting. my sincere condolences. we live in a culture of violence.
2:23am
the question is, how do we change from a culture of violence into a culture of education and a culture of peacefulness? it takes money. we here in congress have that ability. preventing mass shootings by way of banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, certainly something we should do. we need to get at the issue of violence that affects us with respect to handguns used primarily in inner-city areas to kill people. i am not advocating for a ban on handguns. do not get me wrong.
2:24am
i will say we need to address the issue of violence in our culture. i would like to know what kinds of resources are available to help students and help people in the community, adults, who have an emotional or mental disorders and whether or not we need to put more resources into that area. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. thank you for being here for your amazing testimony. i want to follow up on the mental health question as well.
2:25am
i do not know if you could identify. immediate steps cities and schools can take to identify -- there is no other place for them to go. on the other hand, california has had a civil commitment standard procedure for involuntary commitments and i wonder whether you think that is an important thing to look at as we look at options. >> thank you. david? >> thank you. dr. robinson, i would like to direct this question to you. the national rifle association has said the best way in response to what happened at your school in newtown was to arm teachers. how would you respond to the nra on that? and why you feel strongly that a large part of the answer to this is to deal with these weapons of mass destruction, high capacity weapons. >> thank you for your patience.
2:26am
>> is a sensitive question. we realize now in the midst of this and looking back, there are phases dealing with this trauma. this is a start of a recovery. it is still painful. mental health is a big piece. part of what i have come to realize is when you lost your whole sense of safety, you start to look for things that are concrete and give you visible signs of safety. parents are looking to see police are out there and in the building. parents are demanding their be fro's in all of our elementary schools. people seem to need that. some of my teachers are saying they need escape ladders in the room.
2:27am
they need to have the door changed. they need to have new locks. they are creating a list of things they think they need to have to feel safe because they have lost their personal sense of safety. congress could take a real critical look at the unique situations that happen. the mental health support is very necessary. i think my people need support for a long time. i do not think when these people go away, they start talking about a transition plan and i say, stop. we cannot talk transition. we are not there. we need more long-term kind of support when a traumatic incident occurs. that is mental health and there are visible signs of security so we can keep going. my dad was career military. my husband was a navy pilot. we do not keep guns. i have great respect for guns.
2:28am
my dad used to teach me how to shoot. i have great respect. if you remember what the chief said, it is to take the great deal of training for a police officer to shoot a weapon in action. teachers are teachers. if you think about elementary school teachers, they love kids. they are not going to sit on the floor and read to the kids with a gun at their head. there was a very insensitive individual who immediately after this made some claim that if don had just had a weapon in her desk, she could have taken care of it.
2:29am
she was not at her desk and no good principle is. how many little kids can get injured with inexperienced elementary school teachers walking around with guns? it is not even logical. my people tell me they need to see right now. they need to see armed policeman. i think it is that loss of security that is important. your third party question had to do with high capacity. he shot every one of these kids 3 to 11 times. that was not necessary. all that ammunition, maybe dawn and the people coming out could have stopped him. that is the death of my feeling. >> did you have a comment? then we will go to the chief. >> there is not a quick recovery. that should be understood and recognized. moving to a culture of education rather than a culture of violence. one of the things we can work on its anti bullying programs in
2:30am
schools. where we learn about violence and we model violence, children learn very young. if we address this through educational aspects, then we should look at additional support for anti bullying activities in our schools. >> some of these overlap. firstly, funding. yes, please, we do. there are a number of ways we use it. in my city, the lion's share of public schools in my district are in our city. we know how they are strapped. yes to the funding piece. they are having that day to day. what is going on? have you seen his facebook page?
2:31am
i am being bullied on facebook. all of these things that lead us to mental health issues. an officer on the street today gets called because someone is having an episode of some nature. maybe a family member calls or a co-worker calls. having some sort of episode. the officer comes. evaluates, and determines something is going on here. this person needs to be seen. they have committed no crime a lot of the time. in minnesota, and i think this is similar throughout our
2:32am
country, they execute a 72 hour hold. a lot of people say, good. the situation is resolved for 72 hours. this individual will receive some sort of care and diagnosis. that is not true. the hold only gives the authority say, you will have to come to me and this crew and you are going to this hospital. upon arrival, often, because the history is not known, a host of legitimate reasons, the physician or whomever is seeing that prison releases them right then. they are out. yes, that is a problem.
2:33am
my peers will tell you jails have become defacto institutions. a lot of these people immediately -- some crime happens, and now they are in jail. they are not getting treated. i hope that goes to your question. >> can i interrupt you for one second? i know the doctor will catch a plane. we want to say thank you to you. our thoughts and prayers are with you and the newtown community. thank you. [applause] sorry, chief. >> no, i am sorry. to the question about someone legally owns a weapon and then another person gets their hands
2:34am
on it, a family member or whatever, yes, it happens. we know it happens. there should be legislation that requires the safe storage and the separation of weapons and ammunition. so they are not available to anyone who might come upon them. just so you know, it was not that long ago that the gunlocks were given out with weapons. the company was vilified by the industry. guess what they stopped doing. it is a business decision. it was a prudent business decision to stop it. where is the sanity in that? it does not exist. it does not.
2:35am
in regard to the daily violence we see, we see it. in my city, very few murders, but a lot of suicides and accidents. in the past 12 months, we have got four people who shoot themselves. they are accidents. two of them were demonstrating the weapon was unloaded. we are dealing with gun violence all the time. does not make the news that my officers are taking guns off of people all the time. nothing happened, thank god.
2:36am
i started in 1976. in the car, if needed, was a shotgun. that was the weapon to go to if it really got heavy. it was inadequate. it was no longer adequate for the threats the officer face on the streets. we moved to a rifle. we level the field a little. today, my officers have ar-15's in their cars. do you think it is because i want to? i am doing it because i am forced to to provide my officers the tools they need to keep you, my family, my community, and themselves safe. it is not simply because it is a new, sexy weapon we need to acquire. i hope that goes to your question. i hope i touched on all the
2:37am
questions. >> thank you. this is the last bit of questions here. there you are. i did not see you. he may have left. ok. one minute. >> let me acknowledge to the doctor our deepest sympathy and respect to the young man and a hero, your son. certainly to the tragedy we have witnessed. i also want to acknowledge two
2:38am
people in the room who experienced gun violence and lost their sons to gun violence. [applause]
2:39am
i come from texas and i will hold this up. "at top of gun world." we are not after people's guns. the headline says, they are strictly controlled by the united states government. not only that, before someone breaks in to take their guns, because they are in a vault. tell me about being outgunned as a police officer and the importance of storing guns. you mentioned it earlier. in people's homes. i think that is enormously crucial.
2:40am
>> thank you. i particularly want to thank the doctor. i cannot imagine the pain you field. -- feel. i do not have any questions. i just want to ask for your help and all those who are listening today.
2:41am
we have all been listening to the recent polls. 88 percent of american people support closing the gun show loophole. 76% support universal background check. 65% support banning high- capacity magazines. we have heard your wisdom today. i just hope we can work together to use the american people to get legislation passed
2:42am
from both the senate and house. new york passed tough legislation this week. we can do it with your help. i thank you for appearing here today. thank you. >> thank you so much. i join all of you who have turned your pain into plans. i really appreciate your appearing to help us sort through these things. i think part of what makes all of us helpless is, how do you prepare in a sleepy town like newtown? you do not prepare for that. i am talking about domestic violence. we know every single day, there will be a woman killed because there are restraining orders put out there, and a woman whose spouse has a firearm is five times more likely to be killed. we have federal laws
2:43am
prohibiting misdemeanor or felony, folks with felonies from having a firearm. what do you think? maybe a grant program we could give to the states to align their domestic violence laws and to give them grants so as soon as that restraining order is put down, they seize firearms from them right that day. no need to go to a psychiatrist. you got a restraining order, we get your firearms that day until the judge lifts that order at some point. that is put into it immediately hamas so you can i get a gun. thank you. >> one minute, comment, question.
2:44am
>> can you hear me? there we go. i have a question with regard to mental health services. before that, i want to correct something i have been saying for a few days that is now incorrect. i was saying those of us shot on january 8 were shot in 45 seconds. i learned yesterday 33 bullets were discharged in 19 seconds.
2:45am
it emphasizes all the more the need to do something about it. my question about mental health, we have a bill in play that will hopefully provide training. what more can we do to provide good information, practical information for those who might come into contact with those to help prevent these kinds of tragedies? >> respond. >> the question about gun storage, particularly in a home venue. i think one of the issues, and
2:46am
this is a personal opinion -- our country has a solid hunting and sporting tradition. it was waning. we have a lot of people with guns now who grew up in such traditions and cultures and they do not hunt. with that comes the lack of respect for a weapon. secondly, this idea of guns unsecured, loaded, in a home, under a pillow, in the night stand, on top of the refrigerator, wherever it is, that anyone can come along, especially a child, and pick up. we need legislation that makes it a crime. we can say after the fact, social services, an unsafe environment, but that does not get at the issue. they have to be creative sometimes to do that. in regards to domestic violence, absolutely. here is what we can do. forgive me for saying the obvious, ncic is a wonderful thing. anything with a serial number goes in there, like a toaster. it is not necessarily a go to database to get what we want to get at. i think you are right on. those people should go into the next system right away. what we need is funding for crisis teams. a lot of times, someone needs
2:47am
help and an officer rolls up at 3:00 in the morning and they are very limited in the resources available to them. if there is funding for properly trained crisis intervention people, there we go. now we have got something. now it is the mental health e r and the offices do not have to try to be creative or drive away because there is nothing they can do. was there another question? >> i wanted to add one thing. i am not an expert in mental health. i just want to say in any comprehensive package, including appropriate funding for increased access to mental health services, and increased mental health services, it is absolutely crucial. we do not want to have to solve
2:48am
our problems by tackling a shooter after they have run out of bullets in the high-capacity magazine. we want to stop them from ever feeling the need to pick up that done. if we could include mental health in a comprehensive package, i think it is crucial. >> i say thank you. if you have closing remarks you want to make. a startling statistic i found out is 67% of adults, 80% of our children who have mental health issues, are not being
2:49am
treated for those issues. i thought the numbers were staggering. no one would believe me. and that we have gotten the citation wrong. let me ask you if you have closing remarks before i turn it over. >> thank you for listening to us and stay the course. >> thank you. i have over the years met with a lot of you. i know where your hearts are. i know where they are and i thank you. what a great day this was, leaving the white house and coming to this. thank you. >> i would say this, there are those that say the gun lobby has caused great fear among your colleagues. maybe they would rather do something but because of this year, they go with the gun lobby. i would like to suggest this. for that individual, not you
2:50am
folks, but that individual struggling with that fear. that is not fear. that is inconvenience. that is heartburn. fear is what went through the hearts and minds of those 20 first graders in connecticut. that is fear. all those other issues, how is that fear? it is just becoming educated. [applause] >> thank you. i thank you, congresswoman, congressman, co-chairs, policy committee, i think all of our colleagues. this is the biggest show of members we have had for any hearing by far. i might add there is an overflow room of folks who have been listening to this proceeding. i think our witnesses for sharing the story, their experience.
2:51am
you honor us with your generosity of spirit and time to be with us. i know you have big demands, especially at this time, for your opinions. as i mentioned earlier, the call to action, gun violence prevention, a call to action. i will yield my time to the gentleman from california, mr. thompson. he has the responsibility to lead us into action, legislatively. once again, the chief, doctor, thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you. for holding today's hearing. thank you for allowing me to help construct sensible gun laws that will help to prevent gun violence. nothing said today is earth shattering. nothing said today it is going to take anybody's guns. nothing today is going to threaten hunters or gun collectors. people came for today and called for background checks. i do not know how anyone could be against that. everyone wants to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. if you do not have background checks, you cannot do it.
2:52am
the whole idea of assault magazines, people coming in with 30 shells in their magazines, even 15, as i have already said, i am a hunter. the federal law restricts the number of shells i can put in my shotgun when i go duck hunting. no law restricts the number of shells someone can put in an assault magazine. enforcing the existing laws is a no-brainer. enhance school security. it is a call to action. it is time to act. it is time responsible gun owners stand hand-in-hand with the passionate and compassionate congress to make
2:53am
sure we make our streets safe. it is something we can do and the time to act is now. thank you very much. [applause] >> i think it is important to note to our witnesses that the course of the hearing, as you know, scores of members were here. our distinguished majority democrat has been with us the entire time. we are very honored by your presence. >> if i can say, i have no questions. [laughter] i have unbelievable respect and admiration for your courage and insights. thank you very much. [applause]
2:54am
crux panel, a vote -- >> this interview is 15 minutes.
2:55am
host: this is a story from "roll call." this is what they write. host: do you agree with how they characterize that? guest: if he talked about reinstating the assault weapons ban or some other effort, we did not find those things would lead to prevent these types of activities from occurring. in terms of background checks and keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals and people with serious mental difficulties, we want to do that and we'll take a closer look. we have agreed to look at any
2:56am
arguments that are made with regard to any of the issues. i have a strong record of having defended the second amendment for a long time and a strong respect for the right of private citizens lawfully abiding private citizens to own firearms. there is evidence they are used to help defend -- about half a million a year use of firearms to frighten off intruders from their homes. that is a lot of instances. another study found about 1 million people a year use of firearms to defend themselves from various types of crimes, not just in their homes. the right to own firearms is a well established principle and we're going to defend it. host: 5 house members that got the most nra money. your picture is there. guest: gun owners know of my long track record of supporting second amendment rights.
2:57am
they have a tendency to support my efforts to run for office. host: i was wondering about high-capacity magazine rounds. it might have slowed him down in the newtown tragedy where he might not have been able to kill as many children. guest: past shut these have shown the magazine size does that make a difference. we'll be happy to look at additional evidence. we are still not provided with all of the information regarding to how this occurred.
2:58am
there are reports there were handguns that were used. we would like to have more information. there are tens of millions of these high-capacity clips and assault weapons. it is important to talk about semi automatic weapons. people think assault weapons is what they see in movies and video games. machine guns are heavily regulated. civilians have to go through a severe licensing requirement to do that. semiautomatic, the bullet is automatically chambered. most handguns are semi-automatic. to attempt to say you'll bend them based on how they look -- if you have a folding stock or a flash suppressor that did not affect the lethality of the weapon, that does not draw any distinction. i did not think that is a
2:59am
meaningful well to address the problem. host: executive action on gun control measures by the president. is that appropriate? guest: it will depend on what the executive action is. if the government which has many laws on the books that deal with background checks and prohibiting access to machine guns is used within the scope of that law to change how the government addresses the problem, that's one thing. if the president plans to expand the authority to act without congressional approval, that exceeds his authority under the second amendment and the constitution and we would be mindful of that and would be taking action.
3:00am
host: you could stop funding -- guest: we certainly would.
3:01am
3:02am
3:03am
3:04am
3:05am
3:06am
3:07am
3:08am
3:09am
3:10am
3:11am
3:12am
3:13am
3:14am
3:15am
3:16am
3:17am
3:18am
3:19am
3:20am
3:21am
3:22am
3:23am
3:24am
3:25am
3:26am
3:27am
3:28am
3:29am
3:30am
3:31am
3:32am
3:33am
3:34am
3:35am
3:36am
3:37am
3:38am
3:39am
3:40am
3:41am
3:42am
3:43am
3:44am
3:45am
3:46am
3:47am
3:48am
3:49am
3:50am
3:51am
3:52am
3:53am
3:54am
3:55am
3:56am
3:57am
3:58am
3:59am
4:00am
4:01am
4:02am
4:03am
4:04am
4:05am
4:06am
4:07am
4:08am
4:09am
4:10am
4:11am
4:12am
4:13am
4:14am
4:15am
4:16am
4:17am
4:18am
4:19am
4:20am
4:21am
4:22am
4:23am
4:24am
4:25am
4:26am
4:27am
4:28am
4:29am
4:30am
4:31am
4:32am
4:33am
4:34am
4:35am
4:36am
4:37am
4:38am
4:39am
4:40am
4:41am
4:42am
4:43am
4:44am
4:45am
4:46am
. .
4:47am
4:48am
4:49am
4:50am
4:51am
4:52am
4:53am
4:54am
4:55am
4:56am
4:57am
4:58am
4:59am
5:00am
i will share with you one sentence it reed, in our schools we ensure the schools have the right balance to ensure they are safe. we have to make sure schools do not become for tresses. we have to find and maintain this balance between safety and learning. as we move forward during this difficult time collaboration, communes case and experience of all of members of our community, teachers, law enforcement, and the affected families will work to make our schools safer, stronger, and more united. that's why we're here today to prevent another sandy hook. we all have to work together to end gun violence.
5:01am
i hope we can continue that conversation today and make our children safer. thank you. >> i would like to thank our leader and co-chair for this honor. we come to this room today from different places and many different backgrounds. the last few months we have seen too many of our fellow countrymen gunned down in the streets. i represent camden, new jersey. a city of 80,000 have had 70 homicides this year. we see our neighbors die in shopping malls, movie theaters, college campuses and horrifically 31 days ago an elementary school. we are bonded together by one common conviction and that is our belief that is not inevitable. we can make choices to stop this from happening again. we believe that consistent with good medical practice, we can
5:02am
improve our mental health system so those who are tortured can get help. we believe that consist went good law enforcement practices we can make our campuses and schools safe in a responsible way. and yes, we believe consist wept the second amendment to the constitution of the united states and consistent with the common sense of the american people, we can pass a law that makes it so that no one can own a gun that can fire 30 bullets in 30 seconds. no one who is already proven they are a risk to society will have the opportunity to buy any gun at all. we look forward to the perspective of the witnesses on these pressing questions. i thank our colleagues and now we're going to hear from the ranking member mr. conyers. >> thank you so much. it's important that we recognize
5:03am
that the president of the united states, the vice president of the united states, our leader nancy pelosi here in the congress, and all of the members here are committed to deal for the very first time this horrible gun violence that is going on. and be able to deal with in a meaningful way. i thank all of the witnesses for being here. i join with all my colleagues in the very importance of this matter. we have at least five members of the house judiciary committee here. i want to close with this one point that has now become important.
5:04am
that is addressing the mental health crisis in our country. in which so many people suffer from some form of a mental problem. so i applaud you for being here and i look forward to this very important call to action. >> thank you. i would like to introduce the chair of the task force in the house of representatives of representatives, mike thompson of california. >> thank you very much. leader pelosi thank you for organizing this hearing and thank you for all the witnesses who came to share your expertise and experiences with us. as a gun owner, i think we should protect the second amendment rights. as a dad and grandfather i
5:05am
believe we have an important responsible to make sure our schools, community, and streets are safe. i know we can do both. one thing is real clear, now is the time for action. there is too much gun violence. there's no set of laws that will end the shootings and senseless acts of violence but that is no excuse for sitting around and doing nothing. the time is now. as the chair of the gun violence prevention task force i'm working on a comprehensive approach to reduce gun violence. i've met with everybody, republicans, democrats, gun rights groups, gun safety group, people from the video game and movie industry, hunting groups, law enforcement leaders, and the vice president of the united states of america and with my constituents. we know this is a complex issue. in other words to make my meaningful progress it's going to take a complex solution. but every idea needs to be on the table and everyone needs to
5:06am
be at that table in other words for us to be successful. thank you all for coming today. i thank my colleagues for coming with their ideas, there are great ideas out there. i know working together we can put public policy in place that will make our communities safer and at the same time, protect law-abiding americans rights to own a firearm. thank you. >> the evidence of this problem that many people in this room have felt in their own lives the heavy burden of this pain on this issue. we're going to hear from caroline mccarthy from new york. >> thank you. i thank everybody for being here. each time there's a shooting, especially over the last -- i've
5:07am
been working on this issue for 18 years now. everybody thinks that this closure for victims, there is never closure for victims. it never goes away. every time there is a shooting each and every one of us go through the moment when the tragedy happened to our family. my husband died and my son was left paralyzed. it was during the time that he was learning to speak again. he asked me why and i did not have the answer. i am saying this because it is people like us that went through this tragedy. we're the ones that wanted to do the best we can to make sure no other family goes through what we've already gone through. many here have already experienced that. i will say that this is the
5:08am
first time in a long, long time since president clinton that i actually have real hope that we can get something done to save lives. it's been a tough battle. i would say to so many of the victims out there, there are times when we lose faith, there are times when we want to give up. all i can say is we can't give up. the shootings have only gotten worse. there are things we can could have done so many years ago that could have prevented so many of these killings. not only the mass killings, it is also the shootings that happen every single day. since what happened in connecticut, with those children and the teachers, 900 people have died from gun violence. i keep count. i keep count. because it is going to be up to all of us to try to talk to some of our members on both sides of the aisle that we as americans will stand with them if they
5:09am
stand with us and try to reduce gun violence. they do not have to be afraid of the radical n.r.a. i say thank you because there are many gun owners in this country that are good citizens and they should not be tagged with some of these atrocities that are happening. it is those that we have to call upon to reach out to those members of congress throughout the country, because we are here to do the right. the president and the vice president are here to do the right thing and they are going to use their office. but if we as americans don't also raise our voice this will begin another logs battle. we can't afford to lose another battle. we have common sense issues to stop gun violence holistically but when it comes down to it, assault weapons, weapons that are made for the military have no right to be on the street. they do not. i will say to you as our leader has said, we all take the oath of the constitution of the united states.
5:10am
we have never tried to infringe on that to legal gun owners. the package that our coalition which agrees with the president and the vice president can make a difference. we know we can't save every single life. i was a nurse for many years before i came here. the best of the best couldn't save every single life. but that doesn't mean we couldn't try to make sure we did as much as we could to save those lives. that is what we're fighting for. it's heartening to see everybody here. it was heartening to see people at the white house who really
5:11am
care about this issue and have been fighting this issue longer than me. victims i've seen for 10 or 15 years still out there fighting. we can make a difference. this time it is different. it is different because those children, those children are an example of what happens daily in this country. it has to stop. we're americans. we're better than that. we are better than that. we cannot allow a group, a small minority of this country to stop us from doing the right thing. thank you. \[applause] >> it gives me great pleasure to introduce a newly-elected
5:12am
colleague from connecticut who will introduce our first witness and that is congresswoman and whose district that sandy hook elementary school resides. we will have all the various members introduce our witnesses then we will proceed with the testimony. >> thank you so much. thanks to all of you for being with us today. as witnesses to what happened in our community of newtown, connecticut and as to a call for action as to what we must do as a country. i'm honored today to introduce janet robinson who has become a good friend, who is a true american hero. for five years she has served as
5:13am
the superintendent of schools in newtown, connecticut. throughout her career she has shown a constant and loving commitment to education and improving the lives of children. in addition to having served as superintendent of schools in three different connecticut communities, janet has served as a teacher, a school counselor, and a school psychologist. i met janet in the fire house which was the emergency center of newtown, connecticut on the afternoon of the shooting. janet was grieving. she was there with parents of children who didn't know if their children were going to come home. as we know, 20 of them did not. the next morning this brave woman sat around a conference table with members of her community and began plan on how to protect those children and their family.
5:14am
how to reopen the school and get children back to learning. she was putting sandy hook community first, the teachers, the children, and those families. she did it all the time with her heartbroken for her friend who is were cut down on that terrible day. janet, i know you will provide invaluable expertise to us. you are an expert on children, on teaching, but most importantly, and for our purposes today, you're an expert on the price of inaction. you are an expert because newtown has paid this price. you're children paid this price. your teachers paid this price. your administrators paid the price. the community paid the price. you speak with unquestionable authority on that subject.
5:15am
you've lived what has happened when we as political leaders don't act. you can speak to us today on who these people were, tell us about the extraordinary principal and leader of that school. the incredible children, several of those parents who is came today at the president's announcement. who these families are and the extraordinary community that you are a member of. what we need to do here today and with your help and guidance, you need to help us on how to prevent tragedy, about how to save lives, how to ensure that no other community endure what is newtown, connecticut has gone through. what happens now we could not prevent what happened then, we can go forward. this is about what happens now. i want to thank you for your extraordinary leadership and courage in your community coming here today. thank you very much. >> our next introducer is
5:16am
someone who bears both the physical and emotional scars of this issue. he stood by the side of our colleague gabby giffords on the day of that event in arizona. he stood by her ever since and he now has her seat ron barber. >> thank you. thanks for bringing us together and to reflect on what we as a nation can do to prevent any kind of reoccurrence. it is my honor to introduce emily nottingham. she's from tucson. emily and i have known each other for a long time even before i knew her son. she worked for 30 years in the city of tucson as an administrator for affordable housing and social services held that position until her retirement not too long ago. beyond that she has acted in many community organizations. i'm proud to say she was one of
5:17am
the first teem to join the advisory board an organization that my family and i established shortly after the shooting in tucson. she's also an outdoors person as was her son and is on the board of many nonprofits. she's the proud mother of two young men. when i was district director for congresswoman gabby giffords, gabe was my aid. it was a place where we put together the management of congresswoman giffords stay early on. he was my go-to guy. a young man with compassion and caring that it is beyond failed to think that he is no longer with us. he learned about service from his mother. she served, as i said, many
5:18am
nears with people who are disadvantaged in our community. it was gabe who set up that event on january 8, he was killed at that event. he died right beside me. i will never ever forget the image of gabe dying by my side. i know for certain that his last action was to come and try to help us. help me, help congresswoman giffords and for doing that he was shot. some of us here and in congress meet regularly in a room that is named in his honor, the gabe zimmerman room. every time guy there i remember this young man. his mother has been very active since -- she's always been
5:19am
active in our community but particularly active since the tragedy in tucson. she is willing and able to speak at any number of events and has done so to lend her personal understanding of what it means to lose a son in a tragedy like this. we were shot with a glock, with a clip or a magazine i should say. i know she wants to do something about it and it is a great honor to hear her testimony today. >> thank you madame leader. on behalf of my colleague betty and i'm privileged to introduce scott knight who is the chief of police of minnesota.
5:20am
i would be amiss if i did not mention a mayor is here with us. thank you all for being here. chief scott knight started his career with the police department in 1976 and has been a police chief since 2000. chief knight was appointed to the international chief of police executive committee and has served as chair of the iacp firearms committee. he has been a leader in the fight against gun violence. law enforcement is a key constituent if we're going to bring this state of gun violence under control. chief knight has not only been a leader to fight against gun violence but also violence against officers and illegal gun
5:21am
trade. in 2010, the incp joined nine other law enforcement organizations to form the national law enforcement partnership to prevent gun violence. chief knight was chairman of the partnership during its first year. in 2008, chief knight received the minnesota chief of police association award on his work in gun violence. he has testified before congress before and is an expert in this area and we're very pleased to greet you here today, chief. thank you.
5:22am
>> our final introducer is congressman chaka fattah. >> thank you. we're about to celebrate the life and legacy of dr. king and we're reminded on that balcony in memory sis he was -- memphis he was shot down. president kennedy was shot. we are reminded in washington all the time of the dangers of guns. that's why you went through the security protection to come into this building. the supreme court ruled that
5:23am
everyone has a right to bear arms and it makes clear you can't bring them into the supreme court. so -- that is because we know guns are dangerous. so as much as people may proclaim one thing you have to look at their actions. on the floor of the house, we saw a member shot down once that's why we have bulletproof things and other kinds of protections. mayor nutter is someone growing up in west philadelphia, the best place in the world to grow up is a forecast councilman and is a mayor of our city, in so many respects he is the nation's mayor. we working to on gun buybacks but he has had to counsel families of police officers who have been killed. there are literally dozens of children over 50 a day shot every day in our country and mayor, it is good to see you. there is so much more that could
5:24am
be said but it is more important that we hear from the witnesses. i want to welcome my friend and the leader of the united states conference of mayors here today and we await his testimony. thank you. >> thank you. we're honored by each of your presence and went would like to begin with janet robinson. >> thank you very much. i'm here to give a face to the children, the staff, the families of sandy hook in newtown, connecticut. our on a beautiful winter morning in december buses dropped off their precious cargo. nearly 500 elementary children with their expectations like all little children that good things will happen today. maybe, what is for lunch today? will i have a chance to play with my friends at recess? in the first three classrooms the little first graders coats were hung up and the morning routine began with circle time.
5:25am
they spoke about the activities of the day. this was a typical routine of sandy hook elementary school. a place that exudes carrying, happiness, nurturing, from the moment you walk through the door. if you pass a child or adult in the hall you will get a smile or a cheerful greeting. sandy hook elementary school seemed like the safest place in on this earth, the quiet community. this school has been known for the saw bush education the students receive over 50 years and has been acknowledged as a vanguard school. its tradition of caring about the whole child is well-known and part of that tradition. this school is an important piece of the fabric of this community. that morning was like every other morning. after all routines are
5:26am
comforting for kids. until about 9:30 when a troubled young man carrying two guns. one of them an assault rifle shot out the glass window to bypass the buzz-in system and to change the lives of so many people in the next few minutes. he went through the front door where normally three secretaries would be working, she flew under the desk. then he went back into the hall where he was confronted by the principal, the lead teacher, and the school's psychologist who emerged from a meeting in a conference room. i can picture dawn's international to believe that someone would come into her school. she would not think of her safety but making him stop.
5:27am
i can visualize of her trying to take charge. she would do anything to protect her charge. that's where they found the bodies of dawn and mary rushing towards the attacker. natalie, fortunately, survived. the shooter bypassed the first grade classroom and started shooting in the second grade classroom killing the teacher and all but one child who was clever enough to play dead. by this time, a teacher in the third room crammed as many children in the bathroom when the teacher took aim on her and her chutes.
5:28am
vicki who was so excited to reach her dream as a teacher through herself in front of her students. anne marie was an assistant for a boy with special needs and she died trying to shield him. none of these brave women were trained in combat. they were elementary school educators dedicated to educating their young children. their first response when com fronting by this terror was to protect their children. thank goodness for our first responders, they arrived in three minutes which is incredible in a town of 60
5:29am
square miles, mainly country roads. they arrived as the shooter carried enough ammunition to take out the entire school. this loving elementary school was helpless. 20 beautiful first graders were lot that day in a senseless act. there were no match for a troubled person with an ar-15. at the fire house where we gathered to try to sort through the events of the day. the true her of the assault became apparent as parents came running to the station looking if you are that children. as we released children we began to realize we did not have enough children. there were parents without children. it was then i began to realize the magnitude of this her. six dedicated educators were lost including the phenomenal principal who took over the leadership of sandy hook two and half years ago. shed a vast knowledge of good instruction and coached already
5:30am
affective teachers to stretch for excellence. she joined in all the fun with gusto. she was all in. she might show up at a meeting in pajamas or dress like a fairy princess. the students knew she liked to have fun at part of the learning yes, she was sure about making sure the students had a solid education. now, we as a community are struggle to pick up the pieces and determine what this new normal looks and feels like. our sense of security has been shattered. innocent children and the people who teach them were gunned down.
5:31am
we're all forever changed. some families have a huge hole left by a 6-year-old. family who is have their children are still suffering from the nightmares and fears of sounds and strangers. children who are even fearful in their own classrooms. who knows what the long-term impact will be for those children who had the innocence of childhood shattered. what do i say when the parents when they put their children on the school bus they are sure they will come home? how do i let children enjoy being children? i've heard a measure of society is how they treat their children. so help me give these children their futures. i would like to share with you as one final thought a fourth
5:32am
grade student sent you a letter and her name is ava. she says i'm a fourth grade student. after the shooting in my town i started an online petition asking for help to change the gun laws. it is got a lot of support from all over america but i had to take it down because police were worried about my safety. what everyone in newtown wants you to ban large-capacity magazines and for everyone to keep peep safe. semi automatic weapons end lives and put lives at risk. this ban will help individuals, family, and communities from suffering the way we are in newtown. in newtown's center there is hundreds of cards and pictures from children and adults from all over america. it is so sad.
5:33am
people who are against changing gun laws they should walk through the hallway and read one card to realize how many people want this change. we would appreciate anything you can do to help. this is some of the thousands and thousands of cards and letters that are in the hall. it shows the support and the feeling among the people in this country. thank you for doing what you're doing here. \[applause] >> dr. robinson that deeply wounded community is so fortunate to have a person of your strength and character to guide. we're so thankful that you're here today and moved by what you
5:34am
said. >> thank you. >> the mayor of philadelphia, the president of the conference, is there any other mayors with you that you would like to acknowledge we will understand. mayor welcome. \[applause] if there's others mayor feel free. welcome, mayor nutter. >> leader pelosi and chairman andrews and all the members of the house democrats and the policy committee. let me first say you make me very proud. very proud of the opportunity to be with you and more importantly, that you have taken the time to try to address these issues. i'm michael a. nutter mayor of the city of philadelphia, president of the u.s. conference of mayors. we're joined by a number of --
5:35am
>> the chief's microphone? maybe that will work. >> we are joined today by a number of mayors. a number of us are members of the organization mayors against illegal guns. it has provided tremendous leadership by mayor bloomberg. to all the mayors who are here thank you for your leadership as well. i'm here before you on behalf of the u.s. conference of mayors to discuss with you the views of
5:36am
the nation's mayors on what we must do to reduce gun violence in this nation and to make our cities and towns, our streets, our schools, our theaters, our places of worship safer places for all of our people. again, and again and again americans have been stunned by senseless violence and acts of violence involving guns. december 14, 2012 tragedy targeting young children in newtown remains incomprehensible. too many times in the last year mayors have expressed shock at the mass shooting. even more frequently many of us must cope with gun violence that occurs on the streets of our cities every day. the u.s. conference of mayors have been calling for sensible gun laws to protect the public
5:37am
have been calling for sensible gun laws to protect the public for more than 40 years. mayors and police chiefs have worked together in this effort for decades. we have done this because of the tremendous toll which gun violence takes on the american public day in and day out. let me share you -- with you some numbers. every day in american more than 100,000 people are shot. 37,375 die. every year, 18,000 children and teenagers are shot. 2,829 of them die including, 1,888 who are murdered. every day in america, 282 people are shot and 86 die including 32 who are murdered.
5:38am
every day 50 children and teens are shot and eight of them die, including five who are murdered. if this was disease killing that many people, if this were accidents killing that many people, if this were bags of tainted spinach killing that many people this country would take immediate and swift action to stop that kind of death toll. somehow, some seemingly paralyzed when it comes to guns and violence but i would repeat what congresswoman mccarthy said this time is different and it must be.
5:39am
gun violence disproportionately affects metropolitan areas. 39% of gun related murders and 23% of total homicides. philadelphia, like many major cities have you struggled to control gun violence for years. however, despite our recent successes deaths due to gun violence have not dramatically fallen. here's one set of statistics to illustrate this point. last year, the number of shooting victims in philadelphia was 1,282. this is down considerably from the year before. it was the lowest number since
5:40am
we began tracking shooting victims in 2000. however, the number of homicides was actually slightly up last year, 331, seven more than the previous year. how are these two statistics possible? the answer is the homicide victims have more bullets killing them. put it another way, there are more rounds being fired and more intentional head shots. so despite better policing and someone in philadelphia is shot, unfortunately, they may be more likely to die even though there are fewer shooting victims. we had an 11% increase last year in philadelphia in head shots. we had a 30% increase in the number of bullets found at scenes measuring more than 20 rounds at a location.
5:41am
let me note that pennsylvania does not have stringent gun restrictions. when the city of philadelphia adopted stricter gun laws the state supreme court struck some of those laws down. that is why we need federal legislation, comprehensive, common sense federal legislation for all of us to be safe. \[applause] cities alone cannot reduce gun violence by themselves. we are doing everything we can but still losing the battle thanks to the proliferation to guns in our nation. our story is not unique. mayors everywhere are dealing with this problem. they use resources which we should be using to educate our children, create jobs and revitalize our cities.
5:42am
in an open letter to the president and the congress sent three days after the newtown massacre we urged immediate action and over 200 mayors signed on to that letter. we called on the president to exercise his powers through executive orders and the congress to introduce and pass legislation to make reasonable changes in our gun laws and regulations. specifically, we called on congress to one, enact legislation to ban assault weapons and other high-capacity magazines that is now being prepared by the senator. two, strengthen the national background check system and eliminate loopholes.
5:43am
three, strengthen the penalties for illegal purchases of guns. today, president obama and vice president biden released the administration's plan to reduce gun violence through new legislation and executive action. i was honored to be at the white house earlier today for that release and i can tell you that the administration clearly listened closely to the recommendation which the mayors have offered. the nation's mayors urge congress to give that report full consideration and to move swiftly forward on the legislative action it requires. we know preventing gun violence whether it is a mass shooting on a school or murder on a street corner will take more than just strengthening our gun laws. we need to reverse a culture of violence in our nation so violent acts are not the first response of settling a difference or compensating for a
5:44am
wrong. we need to fund our mental health system so we can identify troubled individuals earlier and get them the help they need. lastly, in addition i personally support the creation of a national commission of domestic terrorism, violence, and crime in america. it will examine issues and put promises on what government can do on a local, state, and national level to reduce terrorism and prevent attacks such as those we witnesses in newtown, aurora, tucson, and at virginia tech. yesterday, as mayor of philadelphia, i announced and put forward something i refer to as the sandy hook principles. these are called to action to heed the basic core values of american citizens and promoting the health, safety, and well being of our communities.
5:45am
the objective is to influence the behavior of gun and am you nation manufacturers, distributors and retailers by establishing a baseline standard for a responsible conduct of their business. i will share these principles with many other mayors and we expect these we will review and discuss them in the days ahead. let me be clear, strengthening our gun laws should not have to wait for these other actions to occur. the time for action is now. the nation's mayor's pledge to work with you to build a safer america for our children and for all of our citizens. lastly, let me say this as a father. i find it reprehensible and disgusting that the n.r.a. would place an ad on television attacking president obama's daughters. \[applause]
5:46am
even in this, at times outrageous business of politics which we're all engaged, we must have the sense to not attack the families and children of those of us engaged in public service. the n.r.a. has struck an incredibly new low in public discourse and that ad should be removed immediately. it has -- \[applause] that ad has no place in the legitimate dialogue that must take place in order to make this country safer for all of us, especially our children. thank you madame leader. >> thank you mayor for your powerful testimony. miss nottingham your son, personified what so many people choose to do, we're happy that you are here to share your thoughts with us. welcome. >> thank you for having me.
5:47am
it's fitting that we're holding this meeting near the gabe zimmerman room. gabe was my son and he worked with your colleague, congresswoman gabby giffords. a man armed with high-capacity magazines and a semi automatic weapon shot the congresswoman then turned on the people who ran to see her. he murdered six, including my son and injured 13 people, including congressman ron barber with 31 bullets before retried to reload his magazine.
5:48am
only then did citizen heroes have the opportunity to tackle him to the ground and disarm him. on that will sunny day those people, including a 9-year-old girl not much older than the children killed in newtown were exercising their rights. their right to free of assembly, the right to freedom of speech. they were trying to be good citizens, participating in the democratic process. i'm sad beyond words at the death and injuries in tucson, aurora, newtown, and too many other places. i'm also angry that we, you and i, have made it so easy for these things to happen. we've allowed ourselves to overemphasize gun rights to the detriment of other rights, including the most important, the right to be alive. we've allowed our families to lose the feeling of safety at school, at the movies and gabe, who had a passion for social
5:49am
justice would be furious. please, do not be swayed by the line that the only way to combat a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. there was a good guy with a gun at the tucson shooting but he almost shot the citizen hero that tackled the shooter. i'm here to encourage you to tackle this serious public health issue with resolve, with facts, and with a complexity with the approach that it requires. i fully understand that we can't stop every shooting. but if we can take action and save some of our loved ones shouldn't we do everything we can? we've known some of the solutions for decades but have failed to act. we need better access to and funding of our men the health systems. we need universal background checks and to take high-capacity
5:50am
magazines off the streets. we need the c.d.c. to fully research gun violence. i'm also here because i think it helps to bolster your resolve when you think of the victims as real people not just statistics. gabe was like many of your staffers. he worked long hours on horrible takeout food. he had plans that morning. picking a wedding location, helping his mom, that's me, hook up her tv, figuring out a birthday present for his fiance. instead, he was shot in the head as he ran to help his boss by a man wielding wop to kill many people quickly. have you ever had that nightmare where you knew you were supposed to be but couldn't get there? that was my january 8. as i searched hospitals to find my son who did not answer his cell phone and i thought was wounded.
5:51am
it took hours to find out that he died before he hit the ground and his body was still on the sidewalk where he fell. when you're dishearten by the number of steps that have to be taken b the fears of others, by the politics please dig deep and find new heart. think for a moment about your young staffers, your children or heart. think for a moment about your young staffers, your children or grandchildren. now imagine that cell phone in your pocket is vibrating and the message says they have been murder bid a stranger with an assault weapon. imagine that. keep working to protect your staffers, our children, our nation. we need you to not give up. thank you. \[applause]
5:52am
>> thank you miss nottingham. we aspire to equal your commitment. thank you so much for that moving testimony and courage we thank you for that moving testimony. this problem is prevalent in our cities but not only in our cities. our next witness knows that the sad national effect of gun violence, chief knight. >> good afternoon.
5:53am
thank you leader pelosi for the opportunity to speak before the committee. i've been involved in firearms policy and legislation for a long time. i've been a police officer for 36 years and chief for 12. i'm a forecast chair of the firearms committee and the forecast chair of the partnership to prevent gun violence. for many years we have worked to try to stop the madness and advert the tragedies we're seeing. these tragedies occur every day with real people, police officers included losing their lives or suffering injury due to inadequacy of our gun laws. law enforcement is on the front lines of the gun violence epidemic. in 2011, for first time -- first time in 14 years more law
5:54am
enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty by guns than any other means. about 2,000 children under the age of 18 are killed every year by guns. how sad that it has taken such horrific mass murderers, including those of the 20 small children in connecticut to get our attention. this debate about gun violence are inadequately depicted as pro gun or antigun. it had started a debate -- discussion on gun violence. we're not anti-guns, we carry gun, many of us are hunters. we know guns in dangerous hands are terrible consequences. we have seen the devastation caused by weapons with excessive fire power.
5:55am
federal law deems certain categories of people too dangerous to possess firearms. among them, felonies, fugitives, minors, and those committed to a mental institution. the brady law enacted in 1994, established a national background check system. but those checks, as you know, are only required when someone is making a purchase from a federally licensed firearms dealer. a way around those checks is for a person to purchase at a gun
5:56am
show, an ad, or through a private party. we know, we've heard an estimated 40% of firearms are acquired through private transactions, meaning a prohibited person can and does obtain a weapon without a background check. after the tragedy in newtown, the gun lobby funded in part by the fun makers, proclaimed the solution to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. but the real solution is to prevent the bad guy from getting a gun in the first place is to do a background check. that's something a good guy does. from 1994 when the brady law took effect to 2009, by the way that is the last public data we could get, nearly two million prohibited purchases were
5:57am
blocked. can you imagine? can you imagine what the current data might be? that's a lot of bad guys prevented from getting guns. that is good guys stopping bad guys. it is time to stop dangerous people from getting guns from any source. congress must pass legislation requiring background checks for all purposes. we must also approve a background check system. but too many records are not in because states are behind in their reporting. too many states have not submitted records for those who have disqualifying health issues. this must be fixed. assault weapons are not legitimate sporting guns, nor were they designed for citizens to use in defending their homes.
5:58am
they were created to spray bullets in rapid fire on a battlefield, not on our streets. this kind of firepower in our communities is simply irresponsible and facilitates mass murder. banning high capacity magazines will reduce -- perpetrators have been taken down while they are changing out magazines trying to reload. semi-automatic assault weapons already exist. they should be treated the same way we treat machine guns. they should be registered and those persons should go through a background check in order to possess them. the proposal to arm teachers and volunteers in our schools is a
5:59am
distraction, and it is a very dangerous one. it opens a host of security issues. it is very difficult for a highly trained police officer to engage an active shooter. it takes a great deal of training, something that our teachers, principals, and superintendents to not have the time and are probably not inclined to do. police in schools help make schools safer by building relationships and trust. it is those relationships and trust that stop the bad guy trust that stop the bad guy before the event happens.